Virginia State is a definition of natural beauty that any nature buff wouldn’t fail to appreciate. The abundant historical and cultural sites, Chesapeake Bay’s sparkling waters, and the majestic Appalachian Mountains are just but a few of the Virginia road trip destinations that will make your adventure craving hit to its top.
And there’s no better way to explore these beauties and appreciate the history of the picturesque old towns and the electrifying urban center than a road trip. Luckily, we’ve sampled some of the best road trip destinations you wouldn’t want to miss out on your Virginia itinerary. Check out these trip ideas for inspiration during your next road trip escapade in Virginia. If you like some fun activities and exploring places, you can check out free and cheap things to do in Virginia.
- 9 Best Virginia Road Trip Destinations: Adventure, Museums & More!
- 1. The Blue Ridge Parkway: Biking Trails & More!
- 2. The Presidential homes : Birthplaces & Museums
- 3. Skyline Drive : Shenandoah National Park
- 4. Virginia State Plantation Tour : History & Culture Spots
- 5. The Crooked Road : The Music Trail
- 6. The Colonial Parkway: A Historic Adventure
- 7. High Bridge and Farmville : Chesapeake Bay
- 8. George Washington Memorial Parkway: War Memorials & More
- 9. Route 211 : Wine Tasting, French Feasts & More
- Wrapping up Virginia Road Trip Destinations
9 Best Virginia Road Trip Destinations: Adventure, Museums & More!
1. The Blue Ridge Parkway: Biking Trails & More!
Built purposely to serve as a recreational hub connecting Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Shenandoah National Park, this scenic route is one of the top attractions among motorcyclists and bicyclists seeking adventure. This is the most scenic drive taking travelers to many Virginia road trip destinations.
The parkway runs along the southern and central Appalachian Mountains high crests for about 469 miles in North Carolina and Virginia. Due to the natural beauty existing along this route, the Parkway records the highest number of visitors in the National Park System.
The section of the Parkway cruising through Virginia is 217 miles, much of it traverses through Jefferson and George Washington National Forests.
Some of the popular spots to visit along the route include the mountain farm nearby Humpback Rocks, Peaks of Otter, James River, Rocky Knob Mabry Mill, and Blue Ridge Music Center. When planning this Blue Ridge Parkway trip, you might want to consider these side trips as well for an elevated experience. This route is full of adventure and attracts those seeking the thrill and challenges of nature.
2. The Presidential homes : Birthplaces & Museums
Next few spots on Virginia Road trip are where the Presidents grew up. Virginia State boasts of so much American pride as it has served as the home of many presidents in the US than any other state. These could be good family destinations. On your Virginia itinerary, you should visit these historic homes to get a feeling of what life felt like for these presidents.
Set off at Mt. Vernon where you’ll encounter history exhibits that will let you leap back in time to the era when George Washington was the US president. You’ll then visit Colonial Beach, George Washington’s birthplace. The next stop should be at Fredericksburg where you’ll see the childhood home of Washington at Ferry Farm. Here, you’ll also see the James Monroe Museum which has lots of history about the president.
While still in town, head down to Mason-Dixon Café for a tasty breakfast and delicious cheese grits. Next, take a 2-hour drive away & , head to Berkeley Plantation for a tour. After that, visit William Henry Harrison’s birthplace and John Tyler’s home at Sherwood Forest.
Continue with the trip to Lynchburg where you’ll visit the scenic Poplar Forest, the personal retreat of President Jefferson. You can get lunch at Depot Grille before proceeding with the cruise to Monticello, Charlottesville.
If you’ve got time, you might want to visit Tuckahoe Plantation, the childhood home of Thomas Jefferson, Ashland Highlands – James Monroe’s home, and Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library. So as it appears, visiting birthplaces are top Virginia road trip destinations. The State is rightly known as the ‘Mother of Presidents’
3. Skyline Drive : Shenandoah National Park
This is a 105-mile route running from north to south along Blue Ridge Mountains crest cruising Shenandoah National Park. Skyline Drive is the only public pathway running through this National Park.
This trip will take you through one of the most attractive sights for some eyeballing. The Skyline Drive has up to 75 overlooks featuring scenic vistas of Virginia Piedmont gently rolling hills to the east and Shenandoah Valley on the western side.
Driving along this scenic drive at 35 miles an hour will take you about 3 hours of non-stop driving from the starting point to the end, provided it’s on a good weather day. Shenandoah National Park is usually open throughout the year; however, some sections of Skyline Drive may sometimes require to be shut down due to the weather conditions.
Shenandoah National Park has four entrances; Front Royal near Route 66 and 340, Swift Run Gap near Route 33, Thornton Gap near Route 211, and the Rockfish Gap near Routes 250 and 64. Rockfish Gap also serves as the northern entry point to Blue Ridge Parkway.
4. Virginia State Plantation Tour : History & Culture Spots
Next we have another unique bunch of attractions of Virginia state. This road trip is focused on visiting the restored plantations of Virginia, and it’s a favorite for any Southerner wishing to discover more.
The trip sets off at Richmond and digs deep into the various historic museums of the city such as the American Civil War Museum, Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. Then on Route 5, move towards the coast and make a stop along the route to see the many historic working farms and homes, some of which are accessible to the public.
Some of the top highlights you might want to visit include the Berkeley Plantation, the celebration ground for the first Thanksgiving, Civil War battleground at Evelynton, and the Westover Plantation built by Richmond’s founder. Wrap up your trip with a visit to Colonial Williamsburg to enjoy the living history and tour the Yorktown Battlefield.
5. The Crooked Road : The Music Trail
If you love listening to good music tunes, you might want to head down to The Crooked Road (Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail) to enjoy traditional country music, folk, and the best bluegrass of the area.
This music adventure doesn’t stop there. Cruise down the 300-mile US Route 58, starting from the Blue Ridge Mountains moving across the state until you arrive in Franklin County. Some of the route’s highlights include Abington’s Heartwood, the home of traditional country music; Galaxy S Blue Ridge Music Center known to offer extensive outdoor event series during summer; and Bristol the origin of country music.
Spare a Saturday evening to spend at Carter Family Fold to enjoy the rhythms of old music. There are vacation rentals available along this route to make it easier to attend late-night concerts and take a rest before embarking on your escapade the following day. This would be one of the most unique Virginia road trip destinations.
6. The Colonial Parkway: A Historic Adventure
The 23-mile-long Colonial Parkway has a rich history spanning 174 years of colonial history, connecting 3 towns forming what is termed as America’s Historic Triangle. The parkway connects Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown all of which have amazing must-see sites.
The Colonial Parkway forms part of a complex unit of the National Park Service known as Colonial National Historical Park. Driving at 45 miles an hour, it will take you approximately 50 minutes to drive the entire length of Colonial Parkway; however, many visitors opt to spend at least a day exploring the amazing archeological sites, battlefields and monuments, and living historic adventure sites that this wonderful region has to offer.
If yearning to partake in an outdoor adventure, there are guided tours by park rangers, and trails for biking, hiking, nature watching. Dining, shopping, and many more fun activities are also available.
7. High Bridge and Farmville : Chesapeake Bay
If in need of a long weekend road trip, you should visit High Bridge to enjoy the expansive views of Appomattox River Valley. This attraction site rests on a 30 mile long trail inside High Bridge State Park, located to the western side of Chesapeake Bay.
The trail is quite long and is full of scenic views. To cover a bigger portion of it, don’t forget to bring along your bicycle and plenty of water to quench your thirst during this outdoor experience. On reaching Farmville just nearby, visit R.R. Moton Museum where you’ll get to discover more about the Civil Rights movement. Then head to Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park to dive into a little bit of history about the era of the Civil War.
8. George Washington Memorial Parkway: War Memorials & More
The Memorial Parkway is primarily located in Northern Virginia, then cruises along the path that follows the scenic Potomac River from Mount Vernon to the Great Falls.
Serving as the country’s capital grand gateway, George Washington Memorial Parkway connects several historically and culturally important sites including most of the iconic memorials and monuments.
There are a couple of highlights along this route that you might want to explore. These include the Historic Old Town Alexandria, Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington House, Washington D.C. National Mall, US Marine Corps War Memorial, and The Robert E. Lee Memorial.
Also, you’ll get to enjoy some outdoor adventure on the scenic parks, wildlife preserves, and biking and walking trails.
George Washington Memorial Parkway is a one-day trip featuring many attractive sites. Since this itinerary includes about 12 hours stop time, you might want to consider making the trip in two days where you can spend a night at Arlington, or Alexandria.
9. Route 211 : Wine Tasting, French Feasts & More
Wine lovers, pack up and set off on this road trip cruising through Virginia’s northern part to enjoy some wine tasting fun. Set off at Warrenton Wellness Kitchen and Cooking School in Warrenton for a French feast with wine pairings. Here, you’ll get to learn a little bit about wine jargon and culture including instructions on how to go about wine tasting.
Next, head out of the town on Route 211 making stops to tour and taste wine at 7 wineries found on this route, including Wolf Gap Vineyard and Winery and Little Washington Winery before coming to the end at Timberville. Spend a night or two at New Market or Sperryville to enjoy the beautiful views of the gorgeous mountain picturesque as well as fine cuisines.
Wrapping up Virginia Road Trip Destinations
Virginia is certainly an interesting state to visit on a road trip escapade. Abundant adventure and scenic views in this state make the trip worthwhile. Don’t forget to bring along your camera to capture the beauty that this great state has to offer!